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Transferred principal files suit for $2 million



Published: Tue, July 31, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



A board member said the superintendent can assign administrators to positions where they are needed.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- The former principal of Girard Intermediate School has filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the school board and former superintendent, alleging he was transferred from his job against his will.

Robert Foley filed the legal action Monday in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court. The suit has been assigned to Judge W. Wyatt McKay.

Foley is seeking more than $2 million. He also is also asking the court to grant a temporary restraining order to prohibit the board from making any changes until the suit is settled.

Breach of contract: Atty. Don L. Hanni Jr., who represents Foley, states in the suit that moving Foley to the junior high is a breach of Foley's contract. His contract states he will be a principal at the intermediate school until July 31, 2002.

Richard Ragozine, board president, said state law allows the superintendent to assign administrators to positions where they are needed. He said Foley's move was not a punishment or a demotion. He said Foley received his regular pay last year plus a bonus.

The suit says that June 21, Foley was told by then-Superintendent Anthony D'Ambrosio that he would no longer be principal of Girard Intermediate and was being transferred to the junior high school.

The move came after Foley's evaluation.

Negative statements: "The evaluation contained a variety of negative statements ranging from his inability to control his teachers' conduct, inability to cooperate and take suggestions, and that he covered up for teachers who did not perform," the suit says.

Foley's previous evaluations were positive and he was praised for good leadership abilities, the suit continues.

"However, in the past, Superintendent Anthony D'Ambrosio did not need to deflect blame for failing to inform the students and their parents of an impending health crisis for a new building under his [D'Ambrosio's] supervision," the suit states.

D'Ambrosio, who is now superintendent of Trumbull County Education Service Center, had told Foley not to send a letter home to parents informing them that environmental testing was being done at the school.

Bad news: In February, lab reports informed officials of possible high level of contaminants at the school, the suit states.

"Robert Foley believed that the health problems should not be kept hidden from parents and general citizenry and, in March 2001, the calls and visits from parents became more demanding," the suit adds.

On March 26, Foley sent a letter to the students' parents about the school's condition.

"The school transfer is a direct result of the 'blame shifting' which is now in high vogue by the board and Superintendent Anthony D'Ambrosio," the suit states.

The school closed May 1 because of pupil, staff and teacher illnesses. A report from an environmental company listed mold and fungus in the carpeting and a poor ventilation system. The district is replacing the carpeting.

Foley has been intermediate principal for eight years. He served as junior high school principal from 1986 through 1993.

sinkovich@vindy.com




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